Apple, we have an iProblem
Sat, 23 Aug 2008
Since the App Store launched, I've been happily spending some of my free time playing with my various applications on my first-generation iPhone. I've enjoyed it. This last weekend I got hit by what seems to be a well-known bug, which means none of my third-party apps work, and I can't access any media held on my iPhone (despite that its capacity is taken up by the media the device can't see, grrr.)
Presumably the problem emanates from an iTunes authorisation SNAFU. Basically, iTunes can't get its act together to recognise the device correctly, so "boom", you can't access anything with a taint of FairPlay DRM about it - so no apps, music or movies for you. Or, in this case, me...
Some say you can fix this by connecting the phone, deleting all of your apps off of the phone, logging out of iTunes and then quitting, restarting and re-logging into iTunes. It's a ray of hope, but it doesn't always work. And when it does, it doesn't always work for long. So what's the point?
After all - the huge percentage of non tech-savvy people among the three million or more who have purchased an iPhone in recent weeks aren't going to find, figure out, or exercise that fix - and they'll be upset if it doesn't work.
I've visited an extensive Apple discussion thread on this problem. It's great. it took five minutes to find, is full of conflicting suggestions and is really, really, really long....Visit it here.
The suggested fixes there are becoming ever more convoluted, and in some cases the suggestions will put a user's iTunes library at risk if they don't know what they're doing, (and you'll fail if you bet that every iPhone user is a tech genius...).
As Apple launches the device into 22 new countries this weekend, it's a tragedy of monumental proportions that the problem is currently labelled "not answered".
Someone must answer it.
Apple's army of boffins must get their head around this and offer users clear guidance on this matter - and a fix. The reason? An iPhone buyer isn't just signing up to a mobile contract because they want a phone, but because they want an iPhone.
There's a monthly charge on the contract. How long until iPhone users grow so upset at not having the full promised functionality of the device they begin demanding a refund on their monthly subscription? After all, they aren't getting what they think they are paying for.
Apple needs to get transparent on this problem, in my opinion. I miss the apps on my first-gen iPhone, and I'm sick as a parrot trying unsuccessful fix after unsuccessful fix.
It's not up to me to fix it, after all.
This is my personal opinion - what do the rest of you think?
PS: This is not an isolated problem as the length of the Discussion Thread confirms. And a poll currently hosted on another Mac website clearly shows 9 per cent of users are having problems syncing apps, while 12 per cent face 3G hassles.
Posted by: Jonny Evans
That's odd. I'm curious how many people are experiencing this issue. Complaints are obviously more loud than compliments. I have 3 iPhones (1 old, 2 new) and we don't have any new problems. Of course, I never tried to jail break it or modify it in any way since the day I bought it. There was one problem with my old iPhone where the update bricked it but was functional by days end! Yes, I was pissed but kudos to Apple for a quick fix.
Hi Paul, I'm glad you're OK. I'm not, and lots of others aren't. No jailbreaking etc on my phone either, but may have to now, if only so I can listen to the music I already own on my iPod/phone
That is strange. I've had some weird problems too. We've got 2 -1st gen iPhones. Both were jailbroken with loads of 3rd party apps. Both are currently on ver 2.0.2, and NON-jailbroken. Never had any probs with #1. #2 however had terribly low phone/ear speaker volume at 9 months. Apple store replaced it. 2 weeks later the battery on the replacement phone exploded, breaking the battery cover. Apple store replaced it. This third phone is working great. No problems (fingers crossed).
Perhaps, Apple is doing their best. I however agree with you that Apple needs to be forthcoming and more proactive in dealing with iPhone problems.
I've had exactly the same problem at least three times in the past week. Each time I've had to restore the phone to factory defaults and then manually restore all the content. I'm getting quite good at it, but I wouldn't expect many people to be anywhere near as tolerant. It seems to happen whenever there's a glitch in updating or downloading an application. This is something that is happening a lot it appears. I have about four or five screens of apps, so the chances of a problem occurring are proportionately higher for me. This has to be happening on a large scale! Apple need to fix this quickly.
I had the problem too. All third-party apps quit working, and all my music (both my own CD rips and iTunes purchased music) and videos 'disappeared'. I followed one suggestion where you downgrade iTunes to 7.7, and that allowed me to reinstall everything. the problem hasn't arisen again yet. I'll make sure Apple have this fixed before upgrading iTunes in future.
Sorry, meant to add that Apple need to get this sorted as a matter of urgency. They have a good reputation ('it just works') but they are in severe danger of losing that. Many iPhone owners may not be as savvy as those who have fixed it by whatever of the various methods have been suggested. All they will see is a phone that doesn't work properly made a company that is showing no sign yet of fixing it, or even acknowledging there is an issue. This should be a top priority for Apple.
Same thing happens with my iPod touch.
I had the same problem with apps not being authorised to launch. I contacted iTunes support and they did something to correct my account and since then everything has worked fine.
In the meantime, I found that the quickest way to restore the third-party apps when the authorisation failed was to go onto the App Store (on the iPhone) and purchase a new free app. The authorisation process of installing the new app somehow fixed the authorisation problem with them all. I had to do this after every sync (until the account was 'corrected').
Hope that helps!
Thank you for writing about this. I was wondering where the tech journalists were. I have two 16 GB phones and both exhibit this issue. No apps available, no music available. I restored both from scratch multiple times until I finally got a clue and stopped the multiple hour fix only to have the issue return within a day or so.
It's been a week since I used the fix as described in my first post above, and the problem hasn't arisen again. Seems downgrading to iTunes 7.7 may have done the trick. Hope I haven't spoken too soon!
I've had this happen a couple of times already, and only a full factory default restore has fixed. I've also experienced about 20 times the "Apple Logo of Death" issue that has also got extensive complaints on the Apple discussion forums, where, during App installation or update, the iPhone spontaneously reboots and gets stuck on the Apple logo during reboot and never gets to the home screen, rendering the phone completely useless even as a phone until you can get to a computer and do a full factory restore. (Just google "apple logo of death" to see the extent of this issue.) Overall, it seems that the iPhone 2.0 software's quality is at best beta quality and was rushed out the door to meet hardware deadlines. Pretty pathetic to see what is happening to the "it just works" company as it becomes more and more financially successful.
Kingbee: You may want to get your iPhone looked at under warranty. Getting a 'logo of death' 20 times is the worst case I have seen. I have messed around with mine quite a bit, including jailbreaking it, and I haven't had a single 'logo of death' yet. A couple of reboots and one occurrence of the issue originally discussed here. So far it's got a better record than any of the Windows Mobile phones I have owned, not that I want Apple to judge their quality target by that standard! They have dropped the ball recently, and need to pull themselves together quickly to salvage their good reputation.
Well I've only had my phone for 3 weeks and this has happened. I have tried most stuff found on the internet but with no joy.
I'm starting to regret getting this phone, bah what am I on about even tho it does function properly its still miles better than my previous Nokia
Opinions expressed here are those of the writers and do not reflect those of Macworld. Macworld accepts no responsibility legal or otherwise for their accuracy of content.
Click here to read the house rules.